Wrestling: On the Rebound: No. 3 Howell 33, No. 6 Ocean 23
OCEAN TOWNSHIP — Since suffering a concussion that cut his tremendous freshman season short, it has been a bit of an uphill battle for Howell sophomore Kris Lindemann.
He was 28-2 last year before the injury in the NJSIAA sectional tournament forced him to miss the individual postseason. This year Lindemann has had his share of tough losses, but in the back of his mind he still knows the kind of wrestler he was and can be again. Winning a key match on Thursday night was a step in the right direction.
Down 6-5 to Ocean’s Andrew MacNeille in the third period, Lindemann hit a five-point move from the bottom to snare a 10-7 victory at 132 pounds and help Howell, No. 3 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, claim a 33-23 Shore Conference nondivisional victory over No. 6 Ocean on Thursday night inside Wayne Walton Memorial Gymnasium.
“This year hasn’t been going the way I planned it so far, but this win boosts my self esteem,” Lindemann said. “I’m trying to get back to where I was last year, and I think once I get these types of wins under my belt I’ll be back.”
With a reversal in the first period and another in the second, Lindemann held a 4-2 lead heading into the third period. MacNeille scored a reversal to begin the third period to tie the bout at four before letting Lindemann up and taking him down again to make it 6-5. Lindemann assumed MacNeille would try to repeat the process, but when he tried to ride him instead that gave him the opening he was looking for.
“He took me down, let me up and took me down again, but then he tried riding me,” Lindemann recalled. “I had already reversed him two times and I did it again to put him to his back. (The longer he tried riding me) I knew I was going to get the reversal.”
Lindemann’s win gave Howell (12-2) a 27-6 lead and helped the Rebels absorb wins in five of the final seven bouts by the Spartans (7-2) to rebound from a loss to No. 2 Southern last Saturday with a win over another top-10 team. The Rebels bounced back, just as Lindemann (12-4), who lost to Southern’s Bryan Brown 3-1, did. The victory marked the Rebels' 11th win over the Spartans in the teams' last 12 meetings.
“I think this win was big, it gets our team’s confidence back up,” Lindemann said.
Howell won eight of 14 bouts with Kyle Cocozza (major decision at 220), Nate Litowsky (pin at heavyweight), Mikey Sisolak (technical fall at 113) and Anthony Gagliano (pin at 126) picking up bonus points to fuel a start that saw the Rebels win six of the first seven bouts to open a 24-6 advantage.
“Ocean is always tough, and we wrestled tough today,” said Howell senior Joey Schultz, who bumped up a weight class and clinched the match with a 4-0 victory over Jason Lawhon at 182 pounds. “We kept the matches close when we had to, and got the bonus points where we needed them. Everyone did their jobs.”
Ocean wrestled without starting 126-pounder Costa Poniros, who missed the match with an illness. Starting 113-pounder Joey Benner did not make weight and ended up wrestling up two weight classes in Poniros’ spot and was pinned by Gagliano in the second period. The Spartans also gave up bonus points at 113 where freshman Nick Villapiano, who weighs just 95 pounds, lost by 24-9 technical fall to Sisolak. While head coach Cippy Apicelli was frustrated with not having his full lineup available for a marquee match, the end result gave him plenty of reasons for optimism.
“Our 126-pounder is out, Benner doesn’t make weight and is up two weights, Villapiano is a 95-pound freshman wrestling their starting 113-pounder, but we still won six matches,” Apicelli said. “As mad as I was earlier in the day I’m proud of our kids right now.
“They’re Howell, they’re tough and they give you nothing. They’re 12th in the state for a reason. If we wrestle them again, you hope everyone is where they need to be and we go from there.”
A 12-2 major decision by Cocozza, ranked No. 6th by theshoreconference.com, over Matt Wall at 220 and No. 6 Nate Litowsky’s second-period pin of Luke Roman at heavyweight staked the Rebels to a quick 10-0 lead. Sophomore and No. 4-ranked Peter Dee used a reversal and three near-fall points with a cradle in the second period to build a 7-2 lead and hold on for a 7-4 decision over Dave Tieto at 106 pounds. No. 7 Sisolak’s technical fall in which he scored 10 takedowns against Villapiano gave the Rebels five straight wins to start the match for an 18-0 lead.
Ocean senior Max Rallo got the Spartans on the board in a big way at 120 pounds. The No. 5-ranked Rallo pinned No. 2 Jimmy Slendorn in 5:32 to pull Ocean to within 18-6. Rallo led 5-0 after the first period and 8-3 heading to the third. Slendorn started the third with a takedown to close the gap to 8-5, but Rallo scored with a reversal and put Slendorn to his back to complete the fall. Slendorn’s only loss prior came to Hanover Park’s Anthony Cefolo, the 2012 state champion at 106 pounds.
At 126, No. 6 Gagliano pinned Benner with one second left in the second period to push Howell’s lead to 24-6, and Lindemann’s victory put the Rebels up by 21 points through seven bouts. No. 5 Grant Brown started Ocean’s run with a 9-0 major decision of Josue Pierre-Louis at 138. No. 8 Jack Rada pushed Howell’s lead to 30-10 with a 9-5 decision over Carter Marquette at 145 pounds before the Spartans won the next three bouts.
At 152, T.J. Saldutti edged David Nocks 3-2, and at 160, Zach Hertling (No. 1 at 152) majored Mike Christie, 12-0. Tyler Thompson then won a toss-up bout, 5-4 over Austin Silverstein at 170, to pull Ocean within 30-20 with two bouts left. Ocean needed bonus points in each of the final bouts, but Howell was in great shape with Schultz, No. 1 at 170, squaring off against Lawhon, No. 6 at 170, up at 182 pounds. An escape and a takedown in the second period was all Schultz needed on his way to a 4-0 win that gave the Rebels a 33-20 lead to clinch the match. Ocean senior Dan Loizos dropped down from 220 to knock off No. 9 Stephen Boncimino, 1-0 at 195 pounds, to close out the match.
No. 3 Howell 33, No. 6 Ocean 23
220: Kyle Cocozza (Howell) md. Matt Wall 12-2
Hwt: Nate Litowsky (Howell) p. Luke Roman 2:58
106: Peter Dee (Howell) d. Dave Tieto 7-4
113: Mikey Sisolak (Howell) tf. Nick Villapiano 5:42 (24-9)
120: Max Rallo (Ocean) p. Jimmy Slendorn 5:32
126: Anthony Gagliano (Howell) p. Joey Benner 3:59
132: Kris Lindemann (Howell) d. Andrew MacNeille 10-7
138: Grant Brown (Ocean) md. Josue Pierre-Louis 9-0
145: Jack Rada (Howell) d. Carter Marquette 9-5
152: T.J. Saldutti (Ocean) d. David Nocks 3-2
160: Zach Hertling (Ocean) md. Mike Christie 12-0
170: Tyler Thompson (Ocean) d. Austin Silverstein 5-4
182: Joey Schultz (Howell) d. Jason Lawhon 4-0
195: Dan Loizos (Ocean) d. Stephen Boncimino 1-0
Records: at Ocean (7-2); Howell (12-2).